El Dorado Nature Preserve Trail

Trail length: 1.3 miles (entire loop)

Difficulty: easy

Type of use: Hiking

Trail description: This trail travels though extensive areas of red cedar forest and wet, mixed woods which form a buffer zone for the shorebirds, water birds and waterfowl visiting the shoreline of the preserve. The forest also provides habitat for many passerines. After following the trail for about one half mile, a trail to the right will take you to a bird watching blind. From there you can view shorebirds feeding on the insects and crustaceans they find in the algae mats.

Continue south on the path to the high dune overlook. From this overlook you can view the dunes of Black Pond Wildlife Management Area, the tallest dunes in the northeastern U.S. outside of Cape Cod. At this point you can either continue across the outlet and follow the beach to Black Pond WMA or follow the trail behind you back to the El Dorado parking area. If you decide to cross the Black Pond outlet, a string fenced trail may be present. If so, please stay within the string fencing to reach Black Pond WMA. A word of warning: Currents in the outlet can be dangerous!

How to get there: Turn west off of Route 3 onto County Rout 152 and drive 1.5 miles. Turn left at Grandjean Road. Where the pavement ends, take the left fork at the "El Dorado Nature Preserve" sign.